December 17, 2006

McEnroe's description

One more news clipping I wished I had saved: soon after Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi first began having problems with each other, the greatest doubles player of them all, John McEnroe, spoke his mind on them. Remember this was also soon after 1999, when Paes and Bhupathi had reached the finals of all four tennis Grand Slams, winning the middle two. They had the doubles world at their feet. They could have gone on to be the next great doubles pair, following Hewitt/McMillan, Lutz/Smith, Gottfired/Ramirez, McEnroe/Fleming, Flach/Seguso, Woodforde/Woodbridge -- a long and glittering line. Through those glorious months of 1999, Paes/Bhupathi seemed primed for vast success, poised to take their place in that line.

Instead they fell out with each other. They've both had some success since, but nothing like the promise of 1999.

And for that, McEnroe, never one to mince words, referred to them as "stupid" or "foolish", some word like that. Because this Indian pair had not understood the meaning of professionalism in their sport. The worth of what they had found, as a team.

They could have been great, Paes and Bhupathi. Instead they choose to be petty and foolish. Tennis lost, for sure. The two of them lost more.


Anonymous said...

This generally happens when, in a duo, one member is very much dominant over the other. It becomes unsustainable after a while. Eg, Graf-Sabatini, Simon and Garfunkel, Roger Waters and David Gilmour. In some cases, the "bigger" member has an acclaimed individual career, and in some cases (Waters, Paes) it doesn't work when they're solo.

Would Paes-Bhupathi have done so well if they'd continued despite personal problems -- who knows? I wouldn't be so quick to call them "stupid" or "foolish" or "petty. Instead, I'd applaud them for putting aside their personal problems for the occasions when they were representing India. It can't be easy.

Anonymous said...

It is very sad that the duo had to part this way and that too when India needs them the most.
Ego problem.What can be done?

Anonymous said...

I like the high road that Rahul has taken with his comment. One of the main reasons I like dcubed is that it is in general slower to label and puts in more effort towards understanding any issue.

I take this as a rare slip on something of not much consequence.


Sidhusaaheb said...

They need to learn to separate the personal from the professional.

Having said that, I believe the problems that cropped up between them could have been prevented/resolved if they had not communicated through other people or even worse, through the media.